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European stocks open higher but gains seen limited; Dax up 0.16%

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Shutterstock photo - European stocks opened higher on Wednesday, but remained under pressure as concerns the Federal Reserve will soon begin tapering its monthly asset purchases weighed.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 eased up 0.01%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.30%, while Germany's DAX 30 added 0.16%.

Speculation over the future of the Fed's stimulus program persisted after the Institute for Supply Management said Monday that manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded at the fastest rate since April 2011 in November, fuelling optimism over the economic recovery.

In the euro zone, Markit research group said Spain's services purchasing managers' index rose to a 40-month high of 51.5 in November, from a reading of 49.6 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged last month.

Financial stocks were mostly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale rose 0.21% and 0.53%, although Germany's Deutsche Bank slipped 0.12%.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander added 0.03% and 0.31% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo gained 0.34% and 0.75%.

Elsewhere, Elekta plummeted 2.43% after the maker of radiation-surgery equipment posted quarterly profit that missed forecasts.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 inched up 0.05%, supported by gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Glencore Xsrata jumped 1.19% and Fresnillo rallied 1.95%, while precious metals specialist Randgold Resources surged 2.44%.

Tesco was also on the upside, with shares advancing 2.13%, after the supermarket chain said U.K. same-store sales fell 1.5% in the fiscal third quarter, matching analysts' estimates.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower. Lloyds Banking declined 0.45% and Barclays dropped 0.52%, while HSBC Holdings lost 1.21%. The Royal Bank of Scotland overperformed however, up 0.18%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.17% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.14% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.13% rise.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, as well as data on new home sales and the trade balance. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to release its services PMI. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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